Ambassadors Willy-Nilly

by Joe McKeever

A friend tells how as a teenager, every time he left for a date, his father would say, “Son, remember whose you are.” By his behavior, he was reflecting upon his parents, his home, and his upbringing.

In the 1920s a Japanese visitor was thrown out of a barber shop in San Francisco. “No Japs in here!” the barber called out. Later, that man returned to his homeland and became one of the warlords who plunged his nation and the world into World War II. The barber had served America poorly.

When King David violated Bathsheba, then killed her husband to cover his tracks, he thought this was his little secret. One day the prophet Nathan confronted him with the surprising truth about his deeds. David learned that everyone knew what he had done, that God considered it a personal affront, that the effects from his sin would careen down the generations, infecting his offspring—and that he had just limited God’s ability to use him, and that the enemy was having a field day. “In fact,” Nathan said, “the heathen is blaspheming the name of God over this.” Until that day, David had been God’s exhibit, His personal representative, before the pagan world. Now, he had brought shame to the name of God (2 Sam. 11,12) In Romans 2, Paul accuses his readers of the same failure.

Lou Holtz arrived at a Chicago airport in the middle of the night and went to check into a nearby hotel. For what seemed like 10 minutes he banged on the desk bell before a sleepy clerk dragged in to tell him they had no rooms. “I have a reservation,” Holtz said.

“Maybe you didn’t hear me,” said the clerk. “We are full.”

“Sir,” said Holtz, “I have here a written confirmation guaranteeing me a room in this hotel.”

“Yeah,” said the clerk, “but I have the keys, and I’m saying you are not getting a room here tonight.”

Lou Holtz said, “I walked out into the night with two things on my mind: how to find a room in Chicago in the middle of the night, and for the rest of my life, to never to miss an opportunity to slam the Chicago O’Hare Hilton Hotel!”

That desk clerk is the nightmare of every hotel manager and owner. He may not be highly trained or handsomely paid, but he is the personal embodiment of the hotel to everyone who checks in. When he does his work well, he makes lasting friends for the establishment. When he works poorly, he drives people away and makes enemies for life for the company.

There is a sense in which every Christian sits on the front desk for the Lord Jesus Christ. As a matter of personal pride, you and I represent our homes, our schools, our state. As a point of patriotism, we represent the United State of America. But when we represent the Lord Jesus Christ before a needy world, the issues are larger. At stake is the eternal destiny of people who watch us and draw conclusions about Jesus.

Gandhi is reported to have said, “I would have become a Christian—except for the Christians.”

Father in heaven, You took an awful risk putting your reputation on the likes of us. We do not want people drawing conclusions about Jesus from watching us. We would prefer they do as we say, not as we do. Yet, you have not left that option open. You have given us no choice but to throw ourselves on Thee in desperation and cry out, “Help me, Father! I cannot do this in my own strength!” Perhaps this is how you planned it. Be my strength, O Lord. Go before me with Thy Spirit and put Your words in my mouth. Do Your works through my hands. Live and reign in me to the point that anyone watching me will admire Jesus and want to know Him for themselves. Forever. I pray this for Jesus‚ sake. Amen.

Dr Mckeever is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Kenner, Louisiana.

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